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19 Jul 2024

Champions Duffield Tested By PSL Newcomers Redditch

10 Oct 2007

Title-holders Benz-Bavarian Duffield extended their unbeaten Premier League (PSL) run to 16 ties - but the Derbyshire club were fully tested by Energie Fitness Redditch before beating the Worcestershire newcomers 3/2 in Tuesday's first round of the 25th season of the prestigious England Squash league sponsored by Towergate tlc.

But a 3/2 home win by University Sport Birmingham over Esporta Oxford puts the West Midlands side at the top of the Group A points table - ahead of Duffield by a single point - while former champions Nottingham, who also enjoyed a 3/2 home win against Pontefract, are one point further adrift in third place.

PNH Properties Chichester crafted a 4/1 win at UniSport Guildford to earn a top-of-the-table position in Group B - with PCL Whitehall Security Surrey H&RC sharing the same number of points but taking up second position after a 4/1 victory over last season's league debutants and beaten finalists Probuild Bristol.

England number one Tania Bailey led Duffield to victory with a 9-4, 9-7, 9-1 win over New Zealander Jaclyn Hawkes. It was the world No4 from Lincolnshire's 16th successive win for Duffield since March 2005. Home wins by Alex Stait and Andrew Whipp ensured the tie victory for Duffield - and in the final 'dead' rubber between Duffield number one Nick Matthew, the world No10 fresh from his sensational US Open title win in New York last week, and former club-mate Jonathan Kemp, it was the new Redditch top string who prevailed, winning 10-8, 9-6, 12-10 in an entertaining match between two good friends.

A one-sided encounter in the University of Birmingham sports centre saw the home team's Laura Lengthorn-Massaro cruise to a 9-0, 9-2, 9-0 win in just 17 minutes over Esporta Oxford's Deon Saffery. University team stalwarts Joel Hinds and Joey Barrington made certain of a home win with victories over Oxford regulars Kristen Johnson and Scott Handley, respectively - but both Jonathan Harford and Mohamed El Shorbagy had match-balls in their clashes which could have resulted in a 5/0 win for the academic squad.

Harford squandered match balls in the fourth game against Dylan Bennett before the Dutch PSL newcomer claimed a 9-6, 3-9, 8-10, 11-9, 9-6 win in 54 minutes - and Mohamed El Shorbagy, a 16-year-old Egyptian making his league debut, failed to convert three match-balls in the decider before going down 9-5, 9-6, 3-9, 5-9, 10-8 to Oxford's World University champion Chris Ryder.

Nottingham made a positive start to their 2007/08 campaign by establishing an early tie-winning lead against Pontefract after the first three matches - with Sarah Kippax, Neil Desai and Mark Fuller claiming swift wins over the Yorkshire side's Kirsty McPhee, Neil Cordell and Colin Ramasra, respectively.

But Pontefract secured two valuable wins to reduce the deficit when Indian champion Saurav Ghosal fought back from a game down to beat Irishman John Rooney 8-10, 9-6, 9-7, 9-3 - and life-long Pontefract stalwart Lee Beachill despatched veteran Yorkshireman and life-long Nottingham club man Simon Parke 9-4, 9-7, 9-5.

The last-minute withdrawal of France's recently-crowned British Open champion Gregory Gaultier severely reduced the fire-power of Probuild Bristol, all of whose players moved up the order to face a full-strength PCL Whitehall Security Surrey H&RC line-up on their home courts in Croydon. England's world No6 Vicky Botwright had to be on top of her game to beat Bristol's Australian hotshot Kasey Brown 9-7, 7-9, 10-8, 10-8 to put the Surrey club ahead.

Fine performances by Bristol part-timers Peter Marshall, the former world No2, team captain Hadrian Stiff, and former British Open champion David Evans, stretched tour regulars Davide Bianchetti, Bradley Ball and Peter Barker - but the home team players survived after lengthy battles. It was left to Bristol's promoted top string Adrian Grant to pull off the biggest upset, beating the Surrey club's league newcomer Wael El Hindi, the world No12 from Egypt, 7-9, 9-7, 11-9, 9-7, to earn the visitors a well-deserved consolation point.

In the other Group B tie, Surrey hosts UniSport Guildford were unable to capitalise on the early lead established by Alison Waters over PNH Properties Chichester's Dominique Lloyd-Walter. World No14 Waters recovered from a game down to beat last month's Icelandair Group Classic champion 8-10, 9-5, 9-7, 12-10. Tough battles followed in all of the remaining matches, in which the Sussex visitors prevailed - but in the final rubber between long-time Guildford top string Stacey Ross, the world No41, and Chichester's number one Mohd Azlan Iskandar, Ross had game balls in both the second and final games before going down 9-5, 10-8, 4-9, 11-9 to the world No16 from Malaysia.

RESULTS: 1st round, Tuesday 9 October 2007

Group A:
Nottingham 3 Pontefract 2
Simon Parke lost to Lee Beachill 4-9, 7-9, 5-9
John Rooney lost to Saurav Ghosal 10-8, 6-9, 7-9, 3-9
Mark Fuller bt Colin Ramasra 9-6, 9-1, 9-6
Neil Desai bt Neil Cordell 9-6, 9-7, 2-9, 9-7
Sarah Kippax bt Kirsty McPhee 9-5, 9-4, 9-4

Benz-Bavarian Duffield 3 Energie Fitness Redditch 2
Nick Matthew lost to Jonathan Kemp 8-10, 6-9, 10-12
Andrew Whipp bt Jaymie Haycocks 8-10, 9-2, 9-6, 9-4
Alex Stait bt Chris Truswell 9-1, 9-3, 9-2
Laurence Delasaux lost to Adam Stevenson 4-9, 8-10, 9-4, 9-1, 5-9
Tania Bailey bt Jaclyn Hawkes 9-4, 9-7, 9-1

University Sport Birmingham 3 Esporta Oxford 2
Joey Barrington bt Scott Handley 9-3, 9-7, 9-6 (44m)
Mohamed El Shorbagy lost to Chris Ryder 5-9, 6-9, 9-3, 9-5, 8-10 (51m)
Jonathan Harford lost to Dylan Bennett 6-9, 9-3, 10-8, 9-11, 6-9 (54m)
Joel Hinds bt Kristen Johnson 9-5, 4-9, 9-3, 9-1 (31m)
Laura Lengthorn-Massaro bt Deon Saffery 9-0, 9-2, 9-0 (17m)

Group B:
UniSport Guildford 1 PNH Properties Chichester 4
Stacey Ross lost to Mohd Azlan Iskandar 5-9, 8-10, 9-4, 9-11
Stephen Meads lost to Alex Gough 3-9, 5-9, 9-6, 3-9
Jesse Engelbrecht lost to Tim Vail 5-9, 11-13, 8-10
Phil Rushworth lost to Peter Genever 6-9, 2-9, 2-9
Alison Waters bt Dominique Lloyd-Walter 8-10, 9-5, 9-7, 12-10

PCL Whitehall Security Surrey H&RC 4 Probuild Bristol 1
Wael El Hindi lost to Adrian Grant 9-7, 7-9, 9-11, 7-9
Peter Barker bt David Evans 9-5, 6-9, 9-7, 6-9, 9-7
Bradley Ball bt Hadrian Stiff 2-9, 9-7, 9-5, 3-9, 9-7
Davide Bianchetti bt Peter Marshall 7-9, 9-2, 9-4, 9-3
Vicky Botwright bt Kasey Brown 9-7, 7-9, 10-8, 10-8